Coming off momentous victories, Knights, Rangers meet in Vegas
After scoring three third-period goals to rally for a 6-4 home win over the St. Louis Blues on Monday, the visiting New York Rangers begin their toughest three-game stretch of the season when they face the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday.
It’s the start of a mini two-game road trip out West for New York. The Rangers then travel to Denver to play the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche on Friday before returning home for a Monday night showdown with Metropolitan Division-leading New Jersey.
The comeback win over the Blues was the first of the season for New York when trailing entering the third period. The Rangers, who tied it on K’Andre Miller’s first goal of the season and then took a 5-4 lead on a goal by Alexis Lafreniere midway through the period, were 0-7 in that situation before Monday’s comeback. It also snapped a four-game home losing streak for New York, which is 2-4-1 over its last seven games.
“We were, I’d say, a little desperate and hungry and really wanted this win,” center Mika Zibanejad, who assisted on Lafreniere’s game-winner, said. “So that was a really good third period and a good comeback.”
Forward Vincent Trocheck was also pleased with the team’s resilience.
“Even better that we were down one in the third and we were able to fight back,” Trocheck said. “I think that’s what this team needed right now was a little bit of a confidence boost and just showing ourselves what we were capable of. I felt like a must-win game for us. We just had to go out there and not be denied.”
The timing couldn’t have been better for New York coach Gerard Gallant, who returns to Las Vegas to face the team he coached to the Stanley Cup Final in 2018 as an expansion team. Gallant was eventually fired on Jan. 15, 2020, when the Golden Knights got off to a 24-19-6 start.
“We’ll take the ‘W’,” Gallant said. “It was a big win for us but it wasn’t a perfect game by no means for either team. It meant a lot. Obviously the streak we’ve been on the last two weeks, it hasn’t been good. Definitely to get a win (Monday), it’s a positive moving forward. “
Vegas returns after going 3-1 on a four-game Eastern trip that concluded with a 4-3 shootout win at Boston.
Reilly Smith scored the winner in the fifth round of the shootout as the Golden Knights, who blew a 3-0 second-period lead, ended the Bruins’ NHL-record 14-game home winning streak to begin the season. It also gave head coach Bruce Cassidy a win against the team that he coached for six seasons before getting fired on June 6.
“It was huge,” goaltender Logan Thompson, who had 40 saves, said. “This city meant a lot to him and you can tell he was fired up and ready to go. We went out there and tried to get him two points tonight.”
Vegas has won just two of its last six home games and has dropped two in a row at T-Mobile Arena. Thompson is hoping the win at Boston will carry over into Wednesday’s contest with the Rangers.
“I think the whole team builds off it,” Thompson said. “We know how good (the Bruins) are and how great they are at home. For us to come in here and take two points is a stepping-stone for us and (gives us) confidence for sure.”
–Field Level Media